Salisbury History & Art Trail
Downtown Salisbury, Inc., and the Salisbury Community Appearance Commission want to celebrate the city’s rich and diverse history with residents and visitors.
They envision bringing the history to the streets where anyone can experience the people, events, and stories of Salisbury’s past. They also recognize the strong relationship between a community’s support of the arts and its economic vitality. A history and art trail is a natural fit for sharing Salisbury’s story within its historic downtown setting.
The long-range plan for the History and Art Trail is two-fold. First: A series of markers that incorporates both history and art will be installed on downtown sidewalks and buildings in locations appropriate to the events. The markers are organized into five broad historic eras. Second: Over a period of time, a series of larger pubic art installations will complement historic and contemporary settings.
The Salisbury Community Appearance Commission has long recognized the relationship between a community’s support of the arts and its economic vitality. With that in mind, the Commission’s Art in Public Places Committee invited Joan Farrell, Director of the Asheville Urban Trail, to speak to the Commission and other members of the community interested in expanding the role of public art in Salisbury. Ms. Farrell’s enthusiastic portrayal of the Asheville experience and her confidence that Salisbury would be an ideal setting for a history and art trail convinced the audience that the concept could indeed become a viable and exciting amenity to a uniquely historical downtown. Just prior to this event, Downtown Salisbury, Inc. dedicated the newly completed Downtown Salisbury Master Plan.
At the heart of the Plan’s vision is the challenge to preserve and bring to life the City’s rich history. Goals to develop arts and cultural centers and to develop “public history” on the streets where one can experience the people, events and stories of Salisbury’s past seemed like a natural fit for a history and art trail. Thus, the initial efforts of the Appearance Commission and the goals of the Downtown Salisbury Master Plan joined forces to form the Downtown Salisbury Public Art Committee, with the express intent of developing a history and art trail for downtown Salisbury.
Vital to the success of the public art program is the ongoing involvement and leadership of the diverse community groups that continue to make the City a unique cultural and historical resource. The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Waterworks Visual Arts Center, Rowan Museum, Rowan County Public Library, Historic Salisbury Foundation, downtown churches and the school system are just a few of the agencies that lend energy and leadership to the downtown. Through strong partnerships between the public and private sectors and these and other community groups, the History and Art Trail will offer a pleasurable, educational, and inspirational addition to the downtown experience.